Serious gaming at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin

The Humboldt Lab Dahlem presented a didactic game App for the exhibition intervention „EuropeTest“ at the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin. The application developed by Neofonie Mobile uses iBeacons to conduct users and turns showrooms into a playing area for visitors.

EuropaTest-App BorderCheckThe app “BorderCheck” is to animate visitors of the exhibition to playfully deal with different perspectives on crossing borders. For this, the application picks up the regional structure of the Ethnologisches Museum. A virtual passport within the application allows museum visitors to cross borders as travellers coming from various continents. In order to be able to pay the “processing fee” for crossing borders, the visitors have to answer knowledge questions. The difficulty level of the game depends on the virtual origin of the traveller. This way the visitor experiences how extremely difficult if not impossible crossing borders can be for some people, e. g. people from African countries.

iBeacons facilitate place-bound tasks for museum visitors

Using the Bluetooth low energy technology iBeacon, the native iPhone application can trigger place-bound tasks on the visitors’ devices via little emitters – so-called beacons – which are placed by the visible border crossings within the exhibition.

The app on the mobile devices of the visitors thus can tell when a visitor approaches a border and adapts the game mode accordingly.

Neofonie Mobile helps Humboldt Lab design and implement the app

The concept of the serious gaming app was developed by the Humboldt Lab Dahlem together with Berlin-based mobile specialist Neofonie Mobile for the Ethnologisches Museum. The Humboldt Lab contributes to the plans put forward by the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst as they progress towards the opening of the Humboldt-Forum, which is supposed to become the new home of both museums in the Berlin Palace in 2019. Agnes Wegner, head of the administrative office of the Humboldt Lab Dahlem, considers the app a good complement to analog display concepts: “We are very much looking forward to the innovative learning and entertaining experience this game will provide to our visitors. Especially within the frame of an exhibition intervention like “EuropeTest”, which is all about prejudice and change of perspective, an interactive role play has the potential to reach the users emotionally.”

Special exhibition addresses the interweaving of Europe and the world

Europe is not only a continent with borders that cannot be defined. Europe is a concept, a vision, a story, one of many players on the world stage. With seven exhibition interventions, “EuropeTest” reveals the often surprising connections between Europe and the respective world region in the exhibitions by means of selected objects. Not only does EuropeTest raise the question “how Europe is made” and where the borders lie in the collections, EuropeTest also points to the reciprocal transcultural influences in a world that has long since been interconnected. EuropeTest was developed in cooperation of the Ethnologisches Museum, the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen. The exhibition can be visited in the “Probebühne 4” of the Humboldt Lab Dahlem from September 23, 2014 to February 8, 2015 in Dahlem.

About the Humboldt Lab Dahlem
The design of the Humboldt Forum that is to be opened in the newly built Berlin Palace in 2019 deliberately takes unconventional paths. The Humboldt Lab Dahlem, set up by the German Federal Cultural Foundationand theStiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Foundation of Prussion Cultural Heritage), plays a central role in this. For four years, from 2012 to 2015, the Humboldt Lab Dahlem will be a stage for regular exhibitions, interventions and events under the designation “Probebühne” which will deal with issues relevant to the establishing of the Ethnologisches Museum and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) within the Humboldt-Forum.